Southeast Health’s “Nurse Resiliency” works to put staff wellbeing at the forefront

Published: May. 10, 2022 at 3:10 PM CDT
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DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) - Healthcare providers experience various situations during their daily workflow, from happiness when celebrating the birth of a new child, to times more difficult like telling patients of a life changing diagnosis. All of which creates heavy emotions they carry even after the work day has ended.

To say working the frontlines of the pandemic was a challenge for healthcare workers would be an understatement. A challenge that was simply too great for some.

“Ultimately, what we found is we have had many nurses who have just totally left the profession,” Donna Yost, clinical education nursing supervisor, said.

This is what Southeast Health Medical Center is working to avoid.

Yost said the need for balance of life and work was recognized during this time. Leading the hospital to create a program specifically for that.

“We did some research, looked at some of the best evidence based practice out there and developed a program that’s centered around mindfulness, and balancing work life and personal life,” Yost said

The program is called “Nurse Resiliency” and is free to all staff. It began this year with the initiative to recognize and prevent burnout, and get healthcare workers back to that core of balance between patient encounters.

“When we start recognizing of being exhausted and tired and not being able to give 100 percent in the work life, as well as the personal life, that is what this program is designed to do,” Sabrina Aplin, clinical nurse educator, said.

Burnout includes a very “subtle” type of symptoms that anyone could experience.

“It can affect your personal life to where maybe you’re not experiencing life, you’re not there in the present, you’re consumed by thoughts of, ‘Did I do enough?’ ‘Am I good enough?’” Yost said.

Other signs of burnout include low engagement.

“The nurses that were very high performing nurses are now, ‘Let me just make it through another day, another shift, get by,’” Shawn Hagler, clinical nurse educator, said.

All leading to overburdening one’s own self.

“Sometimes when we have such a light to serve others, we do start to not so much serve ourselves,” Aplin said.

The program puts finding mindfulness and peace at the forefront of one’s wellbeing.

“We want them to take care of themselves,” Tim Mayhall, director of spiritual care, said. “Be aware of what’s going on in their own emotional lives, in their social lives, in every part of their lives, just to pay attention to their own needs.”

One of the most important take aways: Make time to do what you love.

“Those places in your life that bring you strength and meaning, those are places that deserve our close attention and our care and when those places in our lives, inside and out, are strong, we are strong, and able to recover from difficult times,” Mayhall said.

If you are experiencing burnout health officials ask you seek help, because the spark is likely still there.

“They joined this profession for a reason,” Melissa Owens, chief nursing office, said.

The need for workers remains great.

“We’re going to continue to need healthcare workers and nurses throughout the world for a very long time, and so we need to be sure that we have people at the bedside who enjoy what they do, who find value in what they do, and recognize that they have to take a step back and understand self-preservation is important as well for them to continue to be good at what they’re doing,” Owens said.

As part of the program, the hospital invites community members and local businesses in to share what they have to offer to healthcare workers.

The next class is in June.

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